Sunday, December 30, 2012

EDITORIAL: In 2013, Corbett must fix pension crisis...….."Forget the fiscal cliff. This is Pennsylvania’s version of the fiscal abyss."

Daily postings from the Keystone State Education Coalition now reach more than 1750 Pennsylvania education policymakers – school directors, administrators, legislators, legislative and congressional staffers, PTO/PTA officers, parent advocates, teacher leaders, education professors, members of the press and a broad array of P-16 education advocacy organizations via emails, website, Facebook and Twitter.

These daily emails are archived at
Follow us on Twitter at @lfeinberg

Keystone State Education Coalition 10 Popular Posts 2012
A collection of our postings that garnered the most traffic and interest during 2012:

Educators and Spending Watchdogs Critical of Pennsylvania ‘Cyber’ Charters

CBS News By Pat Loeb December 27, 2012 6:40 AM
HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) — Even as the Pennsylvania Education Department is considering applications for eight new “cyber” charter schools, education advocates and taxpayer watchdogs are calling for a moratorium on the applications.  Critics cite a number of weaknesses with the state’s existing cyber charters, and oppose any new ones.

Charter schools now big business nationwide

Management firms bring money, clout to help operate them
By Eleanor Chute / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette December 30, 2012 12:17 am
The early charter schools in Pennsylvania were largely the product of passionate parents or community groups, who sometimes planned their dream schools around the kitchen table.
But the picture has changed dramatically since the charter school law was passed in Pennsylvania in 1997, with an expansion of education management organizations that bring big money and clout into the picture.

EDITORIAL: In 2013, Corbett must fix pension crisis

We’re not sure if Gov. Tom Corbett makes New Year’s resolutions. He probably should, along with every member of the Pennsylvania Legislature.  With just two days left in 2012, it’s time they identify the top problem facing the Keystone State.
…..Forget the fiscal cliff. This is Pennsylvania’s version of the fiscal abyss.
The state is teetering on the edge of a $41 billion pension shortfall. Taxpayers already are on the hook for a $1.6 billion public pension hit this year. That number is expected to balloon to as much as $4 billion a year and stay there for decades.

Pennsylvania on board with Common Core standards for students

TribLive By Rick Wills Published: Saturday, December 29, 2012, 10:05 p.m.
Starting next school year, public schools in Pennsylvania and in much of the country will use a more rigorous curriculum aimed at unifying educational standards.
The Common Core Standards seek to make U.S. students more competitive with increasingly proficient students from other countries. These standards emphasize teaching math more in-depth, and teaching English and language arts through not just classic books but also historical documents and technical manuals. States and school districts can decide specifics.
Critics lashed back in some states that adopted the standards, but in Pennsylvania limited resistance resulted when the Pennsylvania State Board of Education, a 21-member panel with 17 members appointed by the governor, approved their adoption in 2010.

State passes educational buck onto local property owners

Chambersburg Public Opinion Online Editorial Posted: 12/28/2012 09:21:23 PM EST
It's been a long time since the Reagan years, and it seems most of the nation's non-elites are still waiting for his policies' top-down economic trickle to reach them.
One trickledown effect, however, took comparatively little time for its impact to be felt: A sharply increased public school funding burden on local property owners.
Yes, we realize that trickledown economics are supposed to eventually benefit citizens, and not ding them for more money each and every budget year.
That's pretty much our point.
Chambersburg Area School District recently compiled a financial report that examines district funding going back several years. The conclusion is unmistakable: Once the state got serious about cutting education funding in 2010 with the rise of Gov. Tom Corbett, local homeowners have been increasingly picking up the slack.

Wall Street Journal
Fiscal Cliff Countdown December 30, 2012

Fiscal Cliff: Schools Brace for Automatic Cuts to Education in 2013

 Alyson Klein  
Only five days are left before the country falls off the "fiscal cliff." While there's been a lot of political posturing, Congress doesn't seem close to figuring out how to cope with a series of planned tax hikes and spending cuts set to kick in early next year.
So what does that mean for education? Well, it means the automatic spending cuts that are set to hit just about every federal program, including most in the U.S. Department of Education, could go through, at least temporarily. For K-12 programs and Head Start, that would mean an across-the-board cut of 8.2 percent. The trigger cuts are known in Beltway-speak as "sequestration."

Fiscal cliff would be catastrophic to K-12 education, NSBA warns lawmakers
NSBA School Board News by Joetta Sack-Min December 28, 2012
As lawmakers reconvene to discuss alternatives to the fiscal cliff, the National School Boards Association (NSBA) is again urging Congress and President Barack Obama to forge a bipartisan solution that puts our children’s education first and protects their future, as well as the future of our country.  With the fiscal cliff looming, more than 600 school boards have passed resolutions urging Congress to stop the across-the-board cuts that would have a detrimental impact upon their school districts through the sequestration process. These federal cuts would total more than $4 billion this fiscal year. Furthermore, these cuts would continue over a 10-year period and have a devastating effect on our schools, eroding the base of funding for key programs year after year.

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